Roberts, 19, claimed a stunning victory in Northumberland leading a Welsh one-two. Pic:

Roberts Leads Stunning Welsh One-Two In Northumberland

By Rob Cole

There was a Welsh one-two in the National Women’s Road Race Championships as Jess Roberts just edged out her Gold Coast Team Wales colleague Dani Rowe in a thrilling finish in Stamfordham, Northumberland.

Roberts attacked late on to finish just 1.5 seconds ahead of Olympic track gold medallist Rowe to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Nicole Cooke (1999 and 2001-09) and Megan Hughes (1998) as Welsh winners of the race.

The 19-year-old Team Breeze rider from Carmarthen said: “I’m just so happy. I can’t believe it.

“I started crying as I crossed the finish line because I was just completely overwhelmed.”

There was plenty of elite talent in the 103-rider field and there was no shortage of drama throughout the 106.2km race. Commonwealth Games Points Race champion Elinor Barker endured a nightmare start as she was caught up in a crash that left her a minute behind the peloton.

The 23-year-old Olympic track gold medallist eventually finished behind her younger sister, Megan, but at least saw the funny side of it as shown by her post-race Tweet:


Dani Christmas made a solo attack and opened up a gap of 27 seconds heading into the second lap, with Alice Cobb and Anabel Fisher in second and third. Christmas continued to lead throughout the second lap with Melissa Lowther and Anna Christian in hot pursuit.

But Christmas ran out of gas and was overtaken by Nikki Juniper, Natalie Grinczer, Hannah Payton and Christian, who asserted themselves and consolidated an eight-second lead. The enthralling race continued to take another twist as the peloton caught the leading pack ahead of the final gruelling climb of Ryals.

That’s when Roberts and Lowther opened up a 35-second gap heading into the 1.5km ascent. Lowther then made a late attack with 3km to go as she pulled out an 11-second lead, butit wasn’t enough as Roberts overtook her in the final kilometre.

The peloton came rushing back at her, but Roberts was just able to hold-off the charging Rowe to clinch gold with Ellie Dickinson just edging out Lowther for third spot. Given that Geraint Thomas won the Men’s Time Trial race earlier in the week it turned into another highly successful National Championships for Welsh riders once again.

Afterwards, Rowe tweeted: “Never been so gutted with second place. I believe I did everything I could to get my hands on that title. Huge congratulations to Jess Roberts.”

There was also more Welsh delight in the Under 16 Girls A section of the Youth Tour of London in Redbridge. Al three podium places on Stage 2 were taen by Welsh riders with Towy Riders’ Eluned King narrowly taking top spot ahead of Team Backstedt/Hotchillee’s Danielle Parker and fellow Towy Riders peddler Emma Finucane.

King now leads the overall classification ahead of Millie Couzens, who topped the timesheets in the morning’s time trial.

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